Din in the House over disruption of rations

V. T. Balram speaking on his notice for adjournmenet motion in Assembly on Nov. 9Thiruvananthapuram: The Assembly witnessed noisy scenes and a walkout on Wednesday as the UDF and LDF members wrangled over who was responsible for dislocation of public distribution system.

The wrangling began over an adjournment motion sought to be moved by V. T. Balram (Congress) on collapse of public distribution in four districts. While the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies P. Thilothaman maintained that problem arose from the previous (UDF) government’s failure to take steps for implementation of the Food Security Act and get sufficient quotas of food grains, Mr. Balram said that ineptness of the present government led to the situation. Ration distribution had been seriously hit in four districts of the State.  In other districts too, the quantum of rations had been reduced and many were to get full rations for October.

Mr. Balram said that the government had failed to press for sufficient quotas from the Centre. Allocation of Kerosene had been cut from 36000 kilolitres to 16900 kilolitres through kerosene did not come under Food Security Act. Strikes had affected functioning of Supplyco and other agencies while the Maveli stores lacked sufficient stocks.

Chief Minister Pinarai Vijayan intervened to announce that the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas had agreed to give special allocation of kerosene for fishermen during discussion he had with the Union Minister during the latter’s visit to Kerala.

Mr. Thilothaman said that the rations for October had already been distributed and distribution of grains under Food Security Act would begin from November 15. The government was determined to strengthen the public distribution system and get more allocations from the Centre. Rs. 150 crore had been allocated for market intervention which was the highest amount allocated so far in a year.

He said that the previous government had failed to get appropriate allocation of grains under Food Security Act passed by UPA government. The Act covered only 46 per cent of the State’s population while the national average was 67 per cent.  It was ineptness of the previous government that had led to the present situation. While the previous government dithered on implementation of the Act for three years, the present government had done in it in two months.

The Minister’s criticism that the previous government was responsible for the current situation led to heated argument between the ruling Front and UDF members. The UDF members then walked out in protest. Kerala Congress (M) members and lone member of BJP O. Rajagopal did not join the walkout.